Golf avoids taxation in Ohio, so far
In this difficult economy, governments everywhere are scrambling after every dollar of revenue they can find.
In Ohio, Republican Gov. John Kasich recently proposed expanding the state sales tax to include 81 previously untaxed products and services ranging from haircuts to funerals. ''Essentially,'' said The Columbus Dispatch, the state sales tax ''would be assessed on all but about 40 of types of economic activity.''
On the list to be taxed under Kasich's plan is a wide variety of sports and entertainment activities and institutions including bowling alleys and billiard parlors, hunting and fishing guides, pari-mutuel racing events, and admission to museums, amusement parks, circuses, fairs, concerts and sporting events that don't involve an educational institution.
Items on the exempt list, according to the Dispatch, are generally related to health care, education and housing, such as utilities, rent and remodeling. But also remaining exempt are day care, local bus fares, veterinary services for livestock, repairs to commercial fishing vessels, and various industrial and mining services.
Now, here comes the point of this piece. Also on list of activities to remain exempt from the sales tax are ''personal instruction'' in golf, as well as dance and similar activities.
Kasich, it should be known, is an avid golfer. In fact, when President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner played their famous round of golf in June of 2011, the other members of their foursome were Vice President Joe Biden – and Kasich, who is said to have about an 8 handicap.
At the Republican Convention last summer in Tampa, Kasich noted that his afternoon of golf with Obama, Boehner and Biden led to a session in which the four opened secret talks on a major budget deal. They didn't reach agreement, obviously, but Kasich said that more social outings like golf would help political leaders work with each on tougher issues.
Kasich is pushing so hard to expand the sales tax because he wants to lower personal income and business taxes in Ohio and transform the Ohio state tax system into one based more on consumption taxes. His plan has received a mixed reception so far, and it'll be very interesting to see if it goes anywhere.